A couple of years of reviewing software has not been kind to my computer so it's time to reinstall Windows (and hopefully get an upgrade to 64bit Windows so I can take advantage of extra memory). As part of preparing for the new install, I've compiled a list of the twenty programs I wouldn't be without. Each title is a link.
- Microsoft Office 2010
Quite simply the best office suite around. Granted it's expensive but it's still the best.
Staying on top of a todo list is sometimes challenging. TaskCoach is a powerful todo list manager.
Although it runs on Adobe Air, which makes it a little slow, Klok is great for tracking how much time you spend on different tasks.
An invaluable program with lots of useful tools including code colouring.
- Microsoft Expression Web
A very good web design program and cheaper than Dreamweaver.
- Xara Xtreme Graphic and Photo Designer
This image editor can handle all kinds of image work including both vector and bitmap images
- Portable Apps
Install a wide range of programs without clogging up Windows or onto a USB key so they're always to hand.
A good way of testing software and operating systems without messing up the host system. It can share folders and the clipboard. Have plenty of RAM on hand though
- Dropbox and Ubuntu One
I use both of these programs to synchronise files between different computers.
- Camtasia Studio
Create and edit screencasts, good for explaining solutions.
An excellent audio editor. Good for removing noise and normalising volume.
Whistle while you work.
A good way of working on ideas on the move with the iPad which are then automatically updated on the PC.
- Nokia Suite
Sed text messages from the desktop although sadly Multimedia Messages don't work.
If you can put in the effort to get to grips with the interface this is a brilliant image editor. Paint.NET is a good alternative that is easier to use.
Far more flexible than the Compressed Folder Wizard in Windows, 7-Zip can even access files in ISO disc images.
Get a frames per second figure in games to test performance of graphics cards. The full version can also record the action.
This doesn't seem to be working with 64-bit Windows 7 but when it does work it load ISO images as if they were a real disc.
- Pidgin IM
Use several instant messaging services from one program.
A good way of keeping track of Twitter activity, especially when you start creating custom Twitter searches
The problem with an arbitary number is that there's always something left over. So here are the bonus programs
- Snagit / Gadwin Printscreen
The Windows Print Screen tool isn't great as it won't capture the cursor. Snagit is very powerful but Gadwin is free. Gadwin will also silently save screen grabs as image files so you can quickly capture a lot of screens.
- Dsynchronize Portable
I use this to synchronise files with our shared folders, useful for getting them into Dropbox or Ubuntu One.
Is there anything important I've missed or something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments box below.